Virginia Cavaliers at Florida State Seminoles – NCAAM February 15

No. 9 Virginia (15-3, 11-1) at No. 16 Florida State (11-3, 7-2)

  • Time: 4 PST – 6 CST – 7 EST
  • Place: Tucker Center, Tallahassee, Fla.
  • TV: ESPN

Tip-Off:

First place is on the line in the ACC as the Virginia Cavaliers are one of the hottest teams in the nation in winning nine of their last ten games to sprint to the top of the ACC.

Florida State can turn this into a race with a win which would tie the two teams in the loss column with two losses each. FSU was paused for covid and missed three games over the period of Feb. 2-9. The Seminoles have won six of their last seven games which had moved them closer to Virginia they have stayed one game ahead of Louisville and Virginia Tech who have three losses each.

FSU has won 23 consecutive ACC games at home and the Seminoles are just three shy of Duke’s run of 26 from 1997-2000. FSU is 75-4 at home since 2015.

The series is deadlocked at 26-26 as the Seminoles lead 16-8 in Tallahassee. The two teams split a pair last season as FSU won 54-50 at home and the Cavaliers took a 61-56 win in Charlottesville.

Vs. The Spread:

Virginia:

  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Virginia’s last 5 games
  • The Cavaliers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. FSU
  • Virginia is 9-1 SU in it’s easy 10 games on the road

Florida State:

  • The Seminoles are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games
  • The OVER has been the play in 6 of Florida State’s last 8 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 16 of the last 20 games between the Seminoles and Cavaliers

Last Time Out:

Virginia outscored North Carolina 21-4 over the first 9:48 of the first half and rolled to a 60-48 win over the Tar Heels in Charlottesville. The Tar Heels made only 1 of their first 15 shots as they never threatened the Cavs all evening. Jay Huff scored 18 points while Sam Hauser added 17.

Florida State won it’s first game in two weeks, 92-85, in overtime over improving Wake Forest. The Seminoles’ Scottie Barnes scored on a reverse layup with 0.5 seconds remaining to tie the game at 80-80 and force the overtime. RaiQuan Gray led the Seminoles with 24 points and 12 rebounds.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Virginia +1½ (-115) O 129½ (-105)
Florida State -1½ (-105) U 129½ (-115)

Advantage, Virginia:

Virginia Cavaliers LogoThe Cavaliers are known as a defensive dynamo with the Pack Line Defense and their tempo-based style. The defense has hit maybe it’s highest level of the season in the last two games as Georgia Tech and North Carolina have shot a combined 38-of-108 for 35.1 percent. Getting that type of effort will be tough against a Seminole offense that has loads of weapons and any one of eight or nine players can lead the team in scoring in any game. The key is tempo as Virginia’s average possession length on offense is 20.1 seconds (344th/NCAA) while the defensive possessions are at 18.8 seconds (345th/NCAA).

Key Cavaliers’ stat:

Virginia shoots 39.9 percent from three to rank fourth nationally as this is the best percentage in school history and that number rolls up to 41.2 percent in ACC games. What makes this number amazing is that Virginia bigs Sam Hauser (43.9% – 3) and Jay Huff (47.9% -3) lead the three game, with Trey Murphy, probably the best pure shooter on the squad checking in at 48.8 percent as well. The Seminoles hold opponents to 34.4 percent from three and after Wake Forest shot 48.1 percent from the arc and Jonah Antonio made 7-of-8 threes, this is going to be maybe the biggest number on Leonard Hamilton’s game plan.

X-Factor:

Getting on the glass will again be a factor against the Seminoles as Virginia claims just a (+2.7) margin. Much of that number is because the Cavaliers have shot so well all season. The Seminoles are a (+6.0) on the boards and they average 11.6 offensive boards per game, so as Hauser and Huff combine for 13.8 of the Cavaliers 31.8 boards per game, the Seminoles will have an advantage in numbers that can go to the boards and be a factor on the glass.

Advantage, Florida State:

Florida State Seminoles LogoThe Seminoles are going to try to pressure Virginia into turnovers as the Cavaliers only average 9.3 per game. The ‘Noles accrue 14.1 per night as the pressure and length from players like M.J. Walker, RaiQuan Gray and Scottie Barnes force the the turnovers and turn them into easy layups. Gray (11.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg) is a matchup problem for Virginia as well as he has hit a different gear as he averages16.7 points and 7.8 rebounds and has shot .603 from the field and .820 from the free throw lines he is the prim catalyst in the Seminoles notching five wins in their last six games.

Key Seminoles Stat:

The Seminoles are ranked first in the ACC in scoring offense with a 79.1 points per game scoring average and are second in the ACC in both field goal shooting percentage (.472) and field goal percentage defense (.404). MJ Walker leads the Seminoles in scoring at 13.7 points per game as his athleticism should be a huge matchup problem for Virginia. The key is for the Seminoles to make shots against the Pack Line defense. This is a mismatch in skill and athleticism, but as we know Virginia’s tempo and defensive ability keeps them in games they otherwise have no business being in.

X-Factor:

Anthony Polite being back in the line up and healthy will be a key for FSU as he had three triples against Wake Forest on Saturday. Polite shoots 51.4 percent from the three-point line in his 10 games this season.

Winner: Florida State (-1½) 68, Virginia 58
O/U: Take UNDER 129½

The Bets
Florida State -1½
-115
U 129½
-115
Sub Categories:
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.